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Jordan Spieth: Young Gun with an Old Soul

Jordan Spieth captured his 2nd Major in a row on Sunday, and with it proved that he has the complete game.

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Spieth is the best professional golfer to come out of the University of Texas.

The fact that it was just 11 months ago that he became legally able to buy a $9 beer at DKR-Memorial Stadium makes his ascendance to the top of his chosen profession all the more amazing.

Spieth cemented his elite standing by winning his second major in a row. He followed up his Masters title by capturing the 115th U.S. Open on a course designed by Salvador Dali prepped to USGA specifications by Vlad the Impaler.

The numbers are mind-boggling. Spieth led the Masters wire-to-wire, the first to do so since Raymond Floyd in 1976. He set the record for most birdies in a tournament with 28.

He was in 7th place after a first round 68 at the U.S. Open and was at the top of the leaderboard the other three rounds.

Let that sink in for a moment. This kid has held or shared the lead in seven of the eight rounds in Major tournament play in 2015.

He is one of six players to capture the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. He joins Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Closer to home four other former Longhorn golfers have won professional majors.

Masters: Ben Crenshaw (Twice) 1985, 1994

U.S. Open:  Tom Kite 1992

PGA:  Mark Brooks 1996

British Open: Justin Leonard 1997

Which means Jordan is the first Longhorn to own two of the four Major Championships in golf.  He has won on the eastern side of the nation, playing on the finest manicured course the pros play. He now has won out west, playing on a former rock quarry, putting on greens with more potholes than Lamar Blvd. after the Memorial Day rains.

Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake"  -- Chessmaster Savielly Tartakower

I have never been particularly fond of the term, "choke" when it comes to athletic events, especially individual sports. For me it is a lazy, dismissive term, stating that someone screwed up an easy play, something that anyone could do, even if it was under the most arduous of conditions.

Dustin Johnson screwed up - big time.

Johnson played well enough to put himself in position to win on 18 Sunday. He had also missed a couple of similar putts during his round. If you don't think that wasn't in the back of his mind, they you don't play golf.

Golf is a game of mistakes. Golfers - like NFL defensive backs and Major League relievers, must treat each shot as a game unto itself, or the game will drive you crazy.

Louis Oosthuizen "choked" on Thursday, shooting himself out of the tournament with a 77.

Brandon Grace "choked" on his drive on #16 on Sunday.

Jordan Spieth "choked" on his tee shot on #17, and then "choked" again with a three-putt for double-bogey.

Golf is all about how you deal with your screw ups. On Friday Jordan double-bogied #18 (his 9th hole of the day) and muttered, "this is the dumbest hole I have ever played." He quickly followed up with a birdie on the next hole.

Spieth stands on #17 Sunday with a 3-shot lead - and promptly kicks it away. He shows a quick burst of anger after the hole - and then hits the two most important shots of his young career on 18 to set up another birdie.

That is what separates the Hall of Famers from the rest: The ability to compartmentalize your successes and your mistakes and treat the next shot as a stand alone moment.

Jordan Spieth's swing last week was nowhere near the smooth, efficient machine it was at Augusta. And as good a putter as he is, he also struggled with the "cauliflower" greens.  No matter, his mental discipline and focus was razor sharp. He also relied on a little help from his friend.

"Take Dead Aim"

Golf may be an individual sport, but just how important a caddy can be was on display Sunday at the U.S. Open.

Dustin Johnson has his brother on his bag, and frankly I don't think it works. Just from the body language and the apparent lack of communication between shots, the relationship doesn't seem to be beneficial to Johnson.

Michael Greller, on the other hand, is more than a yardage marker for Jordan Spieth. They have been together since Greller walked the bag for Jordan in several amateur tournaments. Greller is a fine golfer, and as a former middle school teacher, he has seemingly created the perfect scenario for a caddy: he is a confidant, mentor and sounding board - knowing that in the end the boss is always right.

The duo talks between shots, Jordan gets angry sometimes and he and Michael hash it out. But Jordan trusts Geller implicitly.

Several times yesterday the microphones picked up their discussions about yardage, wind, slope of the green, etc. Every time, when Jordan finally picked a club, Michael said, "Take Dead Aim."

Almost every time Jordan repeated it back to Michael.

For those who don't know, "Take Dead Aim," is, for my money, the best piece of advice that the late great Harvey Penick ever gave out.

"Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in your life at that moment. Shut out all thoughts other than picking out a target and taking dead aim at it."

It is a great way to calm nerves before striking the ball, and Jordan Spieth is a master at it.

So much so that he will next Take Dead Aim at the 3rd leg of the Grand Slam - the British Open July 16-19.

I can't wait.